No more unemployment cards for refugees, Greek authority says

OAED, Greece’s unemployment authority, has decided to block refugees from getting unemployment cards.

Some refugees have used these cards to get free public transportation and other benefits.

The OAED confirmed to Refugee.Info that it recently told all its offices they must not register any homeless people or refugees.

In July, the OAED also told its staff to give unemployment cards only to people who bring in:

  • Electricity, water or mobile phone bills under their name or
  • A lease for an apartment under their name, stamped at a tax office

Refugees rarely have these documents.

Photo: Ekathimerini

What is the unemployment card?

Unemployment cards are meant to help people who can’t find a job in Greece. People with unemployment cards can get:

  • Free public transportation in cities
  • Discounts, including on some mobile phone services
  • Vocational training
  • Other benefits

If you meet certain requirements, an unemployment card might also help you access Social Solidarity Income payments.

I applied for an unemployment card and was refused. Can I appeal?

If you show an OAED officer...

...and they won’t give you an unemployment card, you can appeal the decision. OAED has 40 days to respond to your appeal in writing.

Appealing can help pressure the OAED to change this policy.

How can I appeal?

Refugee.Info has prepared an appeal you can take to an OAED office. Download the appeal document (in Greek) here.

Fill in your personal information, then take the form to the closest OAED office to where you live.

Find your closest OAED office on this database (in Greek).

To use the database:

  • At “Περιφέρεια” choose the prefecture where you live.
  • At “Νομός” choose the region where you live.
  • At “Είδος Υπηρεσίας” choose “Δ/ΝΣΗ.”

Take the document to your nearest OAED office and sign the document in front of an OAED officer.

You can see an English translation of the appeal here.

I need legal advice!

If you need legal advice, find an NGO that can help.

I already have an unemployment card. Can I still use it?

If you already have an unemployment card, you can keep using it. However, you must renew the card every three months on an online platform (in Greek only).

To use the online platform, you must get access codes from the closest OAED office to where you live.

How can I use my unemployment card to get free transportation?

Each month, you need to get a certificate showing that your card is valid. You can get this certificate on the same online platform you use to renew your card.

Always carry your unemployment card and certificate for the current month.